Israeli film 'Bethlehem' fails to make Oscar short list

Yuval Adler's movie left off list of films vying for best foreign language film, while Palestinian thriller 'Omar' makes the cut.

‘BETHLEHEM’ 370 (photo credit: Vered Adir)
(photo credit: Vered Adir)
‘BETHLEHEM’ Photo: Vered Adir‘BETHLEHEM’ Photo: Vered Adir
Films from Cambodia, Palestine, and Bosnia and Herzegovina made the short list of candidates vying for an Oscar nomination in the best foreign language film category, the Academy Awards organizer said on Friday.
Israeli entry Bethlehem, from director Yuval Adler, failed to make the list. Adler co-wrote the screenplay with Ali Waked, an Arab journalist once based in the West Bank. The movie focuses on the relationship between Razi, an Israeli Secret Service officer, and his teenage Palestinian informant, Sanfur, whose brother is a Palestinian militant leader wanted by Israel.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences chose nine foreign films, in the first phase of the nomination process, from an original 76. The five nominees will be announced on January 16.
Cambodia’s French-language documentary The Missing Picture, which uses clay figurines to tell the story of the bloody reign of the Khmer Rouge government, made the list, taking a step closer to becoming the country’s first film to score an Oscar nomination.
Director Hany Abu-Assad, whose 2005 film Paradise Now earned Palestine’s only Oscar foreign-language nomination, made the list with thriller Omar.
Bosnia and Herzegovina, which won the Oscar statuette in 2002 for No Man’s Land, made the short list with the drama An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker.
Drama The Great Beauty from Italy, which has won a record 13 best foreign picture Oscars as a country, and Danish drama The Hunt starring Mads Mikkelsen also made the list a week after both films picked up Golden Globe award nominations for best foreign language film.
Belgian Flemish-language drama The Broken Circle Breakdown, German thriller Two Lives and Hungarian drama The Notebook also made the short list.
Acclaimed Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai’s ode to Kung Fu, The Grandmaster, made the list.
The art house director, considered one of the world’s top filmmakers and best-known for dramas Chungking Express and In the Mood for Love, has never had a film nominated for an Oscar.
Notably absent from the list was Iranian domestic drama The Past starring French actress Berenice Bejo and directed by Asghar Farhadi, whose 2011 drama A Separation won the best foreign language Oscar.
France’s coming-of-age lesbian love story Blue Is the Warmest Color was also absent as its release in France did not make the September 30 deadline to be eligible for submission.
The annual Academy Awards, Hollywood’s top film honors, will be handed out on March 2.